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<nettime> UN teams inspect Woomera detention centre
ben moretti on Tue, 28 May 2002 22:14:27 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> UN teams inspect Woomera detention centre

ABC Australia News - 28/05/02 : UN teams inspect Woomera detention centre

[This is the print version of story 

Tue, May 28 2002 8:33 PM AEST

UN teams inspect Woomera detention centre

Two United Nations teams have been inspecting the Woomera detention centre
in South Australia.

Former Indian Chief Justice PN Bhagwati is visiting at the request of the
UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, to inspect
conditions for detainees.

A lawyer representing some of the detainees, Ray Hardigan, says the UN
official is unlikely to be distracted by some of the recent improvements.

"Commissioner Bhagwati led a delegation there this morning, and ACM and
DIMA are busy showing them around and impressing them with the latent
guilding that's gone on in the place over the last few weeks," Mr Hardigan

He says the observations will be reported back to the UN and its
assessment is likely to be released within a fortnight.

Another UN agency, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, is also
visiting Woomera at the Federal Government's invitation.

Meanwhile, the Department of Immigration has released a short list of
companies which have put in tenders to run Australia's immigration
detention centres.

The companies include Australasian Correctional Management, Australian
Protective Service, Group 4, and Management and Training Corporation.

The Department says the tenders have to include security services as well
as health, educational and recreational programs.

The Government expects the final contract to commence by the end of this

<comment>This is the really depressing bit. The "improvements" have been
seen on the teev, and are lovely murals and quickly planted trees. I bet
the prisoners feel lots better</comment>

'Spurious' reports

An Immigration Department spokeswoman has responded to media reports that
improvements to detention centres were carried out in preparation for the
UN visit, calling them "spurious".

She says any work that has been done at Woomera recently would have gone
ahead with or without the UN visit.

Hunger strike

Earlier, protesters outside the Woomera Detention Centre said some
detainees had begun a hunger strike.

Ross Parry has been part of a refugee embassy camped at Woomera since

He says protesters have phoned him saying they have been on a hunger
strike as part of their preparations for the visit.

"[They have been] preparing by creating placards, wearing bandanas with
'freedom' on them.

"They're generally gearing up to hopefully make an impact, they wanted to
draw attention to the seriousness of how they see the situation.

"They've been in there for months, some of them have been in there for
years and they are very desperate people," Mr Parry said.

-- ben moretti mailto:bmoretti {AT} chariot.net.au

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